Smallswords have been used as both civilians for street combat and for soldiers for ceremonial purposes. The smallsword is a variant of the rapier. It has three edges instead of two and is designed for thrusting instead of slashing or chopping. Currently, the most famous smallsword is Arya Stark’s sword Needle. I have also seen people forge and test smallswords on Forged in Fire. In that episode, it was demonstrated that if the smallsword was not quenched properly it would warp to the point of becoming a hooked blade. Also, forging the three edges has to be exact to prevent such extreme warpage. I am thinking of including a smallsword in my fantasy series and it will be the weapon of choice for a noblewoman with her own feudal army.
At my local museum, they showed this video in one of their displays in the Medieval Exhibit. This video depicted a very interesting style of sword fighting called “half-swording”. This style of fighting requires the wielder to hold the sword by the blade instead of the hilt, which sounds dangerous. However, some wordsmiths forged swords that had blades that were partially dulled, which would allow the duelist to grip the sword by the blade. Also, these swords would have heavier pommels that would be used as bludgeoning weapons against a knight’s helmet. The crossguard would be sharpened with spikes that would puncture a knight’s skull. After being struck with either the pommel or crossguard, the knight would be dazed and off balance, which would allow the duelist to exploit the weak points in his opponent’s armor. This was a form of fighting that was almost totally alien to me, but it was fun to learn about it and watch it in action. I might include it in my fantasy series for the sake of authenticity.
One of the most common magical sword powers is what some call the Sword Beam, which is when a blast of mystical energy is generated from the sword before being fired from the tip towards its target. Sword Beams come in a variety of different intensities. Some are strong enough to obliterate a single opponent while others are strong enough to cleave open hills. I am planning to include the Sword Beam in my fantasy series and it will be the bane of every foe that faces it.
I like layered steel because its rippling pattern makes the blades look like liquid metal. There have been multiple versions of layered steel over the years. The most common form of layered steel is Damascus steel, but the original process to make it has long since been lost. The Japanese have a form of layered steel called Hada. Even my Viking ancestors had their own version of layered steel that resulted in formidable swords. The layers not only make the blades beautiful, but they also make the blades sharper and more durable than normal blades. I am thinking of including layered steel in my new fantasy book.
I had an interesting thought of a sword in my new fantasy book. It would be a sword that would have a blade that is thin enough to slide between an enemy’s ribs yet sturdy enough to deliver powerful blows. Essentially, it will be too thin to be a longsword yet too thick to be a rapier. In addition, this sword would be paired with a dagger that is of similar design. This dagger would be too thin to be a hunting knife yet too thick to be a stiletto. When used in unison, these blades are fast, precise, and deadly. It would be like their wielder is dancing instead of fighting.
Great news! I discovered that my local museum, the Bowers Museum, will be exhibiting medieval weapons and armor all the way from Florence, Italy. This is just the kind of exhibit I would like to see. I am checking off the days on the calendar as the big day draws near. I will keep you updated on this new development.
I had an interesting thought for my spin-off fantasy trilogy. In the Middle Ages, it was illegal for peasants to possess swords. However, some peasants in Flanders found a loophole to this law. They created a blade that was longer than a dagger yet shorter than a sword. This gave them a means to rebel when the need came. I am thinking of including something similar in my spin-off series. The weapon I am envisioning would be a combination of the Roman gladius and the Greek xiphos. As petty kingdoms rise and fall, the peasants will need weapons of their own to defend themselves against invading armies.